I’m naturally very curious. But little did I know that this curiosity would lead to a major career change here at RichRelevance. I first came to RichRelevance in June 2012, when I was hired as a temporary office assistant to help with a San Francisco office move.
Earlier that year, I read an essay called “The New Girls Network: Women, Technology, and Feminism” by Shireen Lee, which highlighted how young girls don’t “see the connection between technology jobs, which tend to be highly specialized and solitary endeavors, and changing the world,“ and that “women tend to be users more than creators of technology, wheras men are as much creators as they are users.” This troubled me and sparked my desire to learn more about how to become a creator—rather than just a user of technology.
For those of you who live in a data cave on the West Coast like I do, it may come as a surprise that there was a blizzard this past weekend—a BIG one. The ‘Nemo’ blizzard, caused by a merging of two low pressure systems that originated in the central and southeast US, then migrated to the north-eastern seaboard—affected millions of people in the US Northeast, with heavy snow and multiple power-outages.
The crack about using Big Data to analyze Big Weather almost writes itself here, but it is rather astounding how much external events, such as extreme weather and power outages, can influence online activity. Obviously, it’s no surprise that without power, there’s no e-commerce – yet I am surprised with how closely we can track the storm’s influence (and people’s response to it) using RichRelevance’s dataset.
Today’s top brands are leveraging the retail channel like never before to speak with consumers on a one-to-one basis as they do price comparisons and shop online. But how do brands truly measure their advertising within online retail? When we consider that most publishers optimize around content consumption, and a retailer’s entire existence is around conversion, an accurate measurement strategy must center on understanding consumer context and its impact on conversion.
To truly measure the ROI of purchased media, you must have a direct tie into the purchase funnel. Luckily, online retail provides just that. For brands that are endemic to the online retail environment (those sold online), you can measure your direct influence on sales. For those that aren’t, there exist a wealth of opportunities to understand your brand’s online presence by defining the needle and how you can move it.
Three months ago, I deployed with the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) to Afghanistan as the Experimental Test Pilot for Task Force Destiny. After arriving in Bagram in mid-September to a “B-hut” with bare plywood walls, I realized I needed some wall decorations. So, in 21st century fashion I posted my address on my Facebook page and “hinted” that I might like to receive a letter or postcard from friends and family to pin up and add some color.
It all started with a cheesy holiday party invitation featuring cartoon-style ice skaters carving out the words, “Cool As Ice” on a perfect San Francisco day. Just your normal holiday get-together with your co-workers… right?
If you were one of the few who read between the lines and knew the 1991 movie reference (featuring Vanilla Ice), you knew you were in for a treat. With this reference, #CoolAsIce quickly became an internal scavenger hunt for which “special guests” would be at the party. The marketing team even received an email on the day of asking, “Hey, I just saw Brian McKnight on the streets. Is he the ‘special guest’ for tonight?” A few people guessed Vanilla Ice with the title reference, but they certainly did not know that opening acts would include Young MC, Rob Base, Tone Loc, and Coolio. The holiday party had officially become an Old Skool Hip-Hop party…